SC asks Govt to consider regulating playing of national anthem

Toni Houston
October 24, 2017

The court had directed all movie halls and theatres to play the national anthem before the start of a play, movie or any other programme and said audiences must stand up and pay respect to the national anthem in a bid to instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism. Later, in December, the court modified its order to say that handicapped persons need not stand up.

Lashing out at the government for supporting the SC order which made it compulsory to stand up for the anthem, Justice Chandrachud said that the government should take its own stand on whether people should stand up for the anthem.

People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment. During the resumed hearing on Monday, Justice Chandrachud virtually endorsed the plea for modification of the order saying that one does not have to wear patriotism on sleeves all the time and moral policing needs to be stopped.

On November 30 previous year, the Supreme Court ordered that the national anthem must be played in cinema halls across the country before a movie starts in order to instil a sense of patriotism and nationalism.

Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that Article 51 A (a) required every citizen as a duty to show respect to the national flag and the national anthem.

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat government to apprise it within four weeks whether any departmental action was initiated or taken against the police officers whose conviction in the case of gang-rape of Bilkis Bano on March 3, 2002 during the Gujarat riots was upheld.

The court had barred printing of the anthem or a part of it on any object and displaying it in such a manner at places which may be "disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect". Senior counsel Chandra Uday Singh, appearing for a film society seeking recall of the November 30 order, asked then why not play the national anthem on railway platforms as well. "Why should you assume that everyone who doesn't stand up for the national anthem is not patriotic?"

Venugopal said, "the court has ample power under Article 142 of the Constitution to issue directions".

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